Posted: September 15th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 106 Comments »
Chip Kelly made me feel better about the Eagles performance on Monday night. In his PC, Kelly explained that penalties were his primary issue. He gave the example of seven calls against the offense that set the team back 60 yards. More importantly, they negated 98 gained yards, including a couple of big plays. One of those big gains would have put the Eagles at the Atlanta-10 with about four minutes left. Think that hurt?
Kelly explained the penalties were due to technical breakdowns. He gave the example that on some holding calls the blocker quit moving his feet and then had to reach/grab. This is the kind of basic stuff the coaches have talked about since May. But sometimes players get caught in the moment and lose their technique. It seems like that happened to the Eagles on Monday night.
The reason this makes me feel better is that these are correctable mistakes. You can’t make players bigger, faster or more talented. You can improve their technique. It is incredibly boring to talk about fundamentals, but they really are the key to football.
Kelly and the coaches will focus on cleaning up the penalties. They weren’t just costly on offense. There was one on Kiko Alonso that negated a strip sack. That led to points and played a huge part in the outcome of the game. The whole team was sloppy. Kelly said this had to change before this week’s game against Dallas.
If you get rid of some of the penalties, the Eagles performance on Monday looks a lot better. Heck, maybe they win. Unfortunately, the Eagles committed the mistakes and it cost them big time.
Time to fix it and get going.
* * * * *
Kelly expressed total and complete confidence in Cody Parkey. But what is Chip going to say? He is very loyal to his players and won’t hang the guy out to dry.
I agree with Kelly that it isn’t time to panic in regard to Parkey, but you do have to pay attention the situation. Parkey was a Pro Bowl kicker last year. This is 2015 and Parkey isn’t automatic right now. He needs to get on a hot streak, ASAP.
* * * * *
Football season means roster shuffling. And it has begun.
David Molk got hurt in the opener and is headed to IR. The Eagles could consider Josh Andrews the backup C and go find an interior guy or they could try to find someone who has played C in the NFL and could be a more proven backup.
The Eagles lost Raheem Mostert off the practice squad on Monday. Now they have released TE Andrew Gleichert. To fill the two spots, the team re-signed RB Kevin Monangai and DL Travis Raciti. As of now, the PS looks like this:
OL Brett Boyko
OL Malcom Bunche
WR Quron Pratt
WR Freddie Martino
RB Kevin Monangai
DL Travis Raciti
DL Brian Mihalik
DB Ed Reynolds
ILB Deontae Skinner
DB Randall Evans
I’m glad they got Raciti back. I think he has NFL potential. Monangai is a limited player, but could be good in practice. You know he’ll work his butt off.
Posted: September 15th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 646 Comments »
We waited 9 months for that?
Season openers carry the weight of the world with them due to all the waiting and the build up of excitement and curiosity. Every play is magnified. The outcome is huge.
So when the Eagles look awful for a half and lose the opener, it is tough to stay level-headed.
Some context can make a big difference.
Last year the Eagles won the opener 34-17. That sounds good, but you have to go deeper. They hosted the Jaguars, who featured Chad Henne at QB, Toby Gerhart at RB and a slew of rookies at WR. The Jags built up a 17-0 lead at the half before the Eagles dominated the 2nd half and won the game. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher struggled. The starting WRs (Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee) combined to go 10-172-3. In their debut.
The Eagles scored 3 TDs on fluky plays and had the other TD drive start at the Jags 40-yard line. Nick Foles threw a bad INT in the end zone. The Eagles struggled to establish the run game. Zach Ertz was the only receiver who stood out.
All of this and the Eagles were at home playing against a team coming off a 4-12 season.
Compare that to last night.
The Eagles lost 26-24. They were torched by Julio Jones and Roddy White for 13-225-2. That’s arguably the top WR duo in the league. QB Matt Ryan is incredibly difficult to beat in Atlanta. He is now 8-0 in home openers and has a great overall record in the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta was up 20-3 at the half and really controlled that part of the game. It wasn’t luck or bad officiating. They controlled the line of scrimmage. They made plays. The Eagles were sloppy and looked bad.
The Eagles turned the tables after halftime and outscored the Falcons 21-6. There was one short TD, set up by a beautiful INT by Walter Thurmond. The other TD drives covered 95 and 80 yards. The Eagles weren’t lucky at all. They had to overcome penalties, some of which were questionable. Those were long, tough drives.
The Eagles then got the ball back, again at their own 20, where they seemed to start every drive. They marched to the Falcons 26-yard line where the drive stalled. Cody Parkey had a 44-yard attempt to take the lead. And he missed.
But again…think about the two openers. The Eagles won last year. In retrospect, there were some real issues that would plague the team all year. The Eagles got lucky that they were playing a bad team and had the benefit of being at home. Did you see anything that day that really got your attention? The TD run up the middle by Darren Sproles was terrific, but it also looked like the parting of the Red Sea. The entire middle of the field was wide open. Jeremy Maclin had a 68-yard TD, but there wasn’t anyone within 15 yards of him.
There were actually more positives to come out of last night’s game, despite the fact it was a loss. Sam Bradford was 21-25-219 in the 2nd half. He really got on a roll. The team was down 17 on the road to a veteran QB. They took control of the game and actually took the lead in the 4th quarter. Kiko Alonso had a great INT. Walter Thurmond had a great INT. The Eagles executed well in the Red Zone, going 3 for 4.
The biggest thing for me is that the Eagles were really challenged. And they responded. I know the Falcons went 6-10 last year, but that might be a playoff team this year. They looked good. The Falcons played hard. They were aggressive and physical. They’ve still got some talent issues, but the new coaching staff has made a difference with them.
Being down 17 to Chad Henne and coming back at home is very different from being down 17 to Matt Ryan and a rejuvenated Falcons team on the road. This year’s result was a loss, but I was impressed enough with what I saw in the 2nd half to still feel good about this team.
* * * * *
The biggest concern for me is the lack of a running game. Darren Sproles was 5-50. Ryan Mathews was 3-4. DeMarco Murray was 8-9. Ugh, ugh and ugh. That’s not good.
It did look like the Falcons were crowding the line of scrimmage so the Eagles did the smart thing and started throwing the ball. Still, that’s not a good day on the ground. The offensive line has got to play better. I need to study the game to see what was going on.
I did like the fact that Bradford and Kelly fed the ball to the RBs in the passing game. You need to get those guys touches. They were 14-111 as receivers. And there were a couple of nice gains on screen passes that got called back.
* * * * *
What do we make of the Cody Parkey situation right now?
Chip Kelly says all the right things. The one FG he did hit looked good. I’m not sure what happened on the miss. I don’t think the Eagles need to panic yet, but Parkey needs to get on a hot streak. Another miss or two any time soon and the team will have to start looking at other kickers.
Posted: September 14th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 202 Comments »
The Falcons beat the Eagles 26-24. Or you could say that the Eagles beat the Eagles. There were a lot of self-inflicted wounds that played a major part in the loss.
Let’s talk about a few.
* Missed FG
* Drop by Jordan Matthews that led to game-sealing INT
* Drop by Ryan Mathews that could have gotten 15 or more yards
* Failure to stop RB on draw on 3rd/long
* Failure to get yard on 3rd/1
* 2 dropped INTs by Malcolm Jenkins
Blocking and tackling was erratic throughout the game. That must improve.
It would be easy to get all “The sky is falling!!!” after this loss, but that’s not the way I feel right now. The 1st half was a complete disaster and the team trailed 20-3. They looked out of sync on offense and played on their heels on defense.
The Eagles were borderline dominant in the 2nd half, outscoring Atlanta 21-6 and missing a FG. The defense was much more aggressive and the offense got into a great rhythm. This was the Eagles team I expected to see all night long.
There are plenty of things to fix, but you can at least build off the play of the 2nd half. That wasn’t fluky or lucky. The Eagles were outstanding. That can carry over to other games.
Sam Bradford was 21-25-219 in the 2nd half. He spread the ball around and let his weapons make plays for him. This was the guy Chip Kelly wanted to see. The 1st half was a very different story. Bradford looked rusty and somewhat tentative at times. Inconsistent blocking played a large part in that.
I’ll have more in the morning. For now, this isn’t the start I wanted, but I saw enough good things in the 2nd half that I’m as encouraged as I am frustrated. That 1st half had me really ticked off. The Eagles weren’t going to be a finished product after adding so many new pieces in the offseason. I expected some growing pains, but certainly not what I saw in the opening 30 minutes.
That final 30 minutes still had too many mistakes. But there were good signs as well…enough that I still have confidence in this team. Let’s hurry up and get to Sunday.
Posted: September 14th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1,152 Comments »
The Eagles are just getting dominated. All over the place.
The only thing keeping this from being a complete disaster is the lack of major injuries.
Eagles were down 17-0 at the half in last year’s opener. Also down 17 this year, but feels different. ATL is better team and Matt Ryan is a stud QB.
Ugly night. Gonna take some big plays to turn this around.
Posted: September 14th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 921 Comments »
Kickoff is just a few minutes away.
The inactives are:
QB Stephen Morris
RB Kenjon Barner
OL Dennis Kelly
OL Josh Andrews
DL Brandon Bair
LB Marcus Smith
DB Denzel Rice
The big news is that TE Zach Ertz will play. He got hurt about 4 weeks ago so this is a quick return. I’m sure the team will be judicious with how they use him.
I wrote a game preview for PE.com, also with some insights on the season.
The Eagles are the better team, but dealing with the Falcons WRs is going to be a challenge. Will the Eagles mix in E.J Biggers or Eric Rowe in the Nickel look?
It will be interesting to see if Bill Davis focused more on coverage or pressure. If the front 4 can bring the heat, that will make a huge difference.
I’m feeling good, but that has me nervous.